The Houston Chronicle profiles the city’s RAIDER program, which focuses on animal cruelty in a joint effort of the Houston Humane Society and the Harris County Constable. The program, Rescuing Animals in Danger and Education Resources, includes a two-man enforcement team, Lt. Mark Timmers, a cigar-smoking, gun-toting veteran police officer who is as intimidating as a military drill sergeant, and his sidekick, Deputy Patrick Leone.
The Houston Humane Society spends about $300,000 annually on officer salaries, medical care for animals and supplies to support the program. Through the program, which started in 2003, officers conduct criminal investigations and seize animals, train law enforcement officers to recognize animal cruelty and provide education to schoolchildren. As of July, the unit this year has responded to 1,168 animal cruelty calls, which resulted in nearly 900 investigations. Twenty-five criminal charges have been filed and 400 animals seized.